Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard


I want to thank IHS Global Insight for allowing SMU and our readers to attend their Pricing & Purchasing Summit which was held in Chicago over the past two days. SMU is interested in conducting a similar conference dedicated to the steel industry and identifying risks next year as we strive to bring new value to our members and the steel community.

Based on the conversations I have been having with end users, service centers and steel mills over the past few days it appears we may be in one of those interesting times within the steel industry. We have a number of factors coming together – new management at two mills – USS and Severstal and another mill is for sale (ThyssenKrupp). We have contract negotiations beginning and, so far, the mills seem to be committed to doing a better job of controlling their fate and attempting to become more profitable. After many years of shooting themselves in the foot maybe now is the time to make a stand?

Of course end users are not pleased with the changes and I found John Anton of IHS Global Insight comments today to be compelling – maybe it is time for buyers to weigh all of the risks in their supply chain and supporting slightly higher prices may pay dividends over the longer term.

Earlier this evening, Severstal NA announced the appointment of a new Vice President of Commercial. His name is Sachin Shivaram and his background is with ArcelorMittal and McKinsey and Company. He replaces Tom Marchak who has been appointed to the position as Special Advisor to the CEO. We will have more on this on our blog  tomorrow.

By the way – John Temples and I will be at Metalcon this year in Atlanta. I expect to attend the AKZO Nobel cocktail reception and to be on the floor for the first day of the show.  If you would like to make arrangements to speak to John or myself you can shoot us an email at: John@SteelMarketUpdate.com.

As always we want to thank our members for their support and their business which is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update.

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Final thoughts

What's the tea in the steel industry this week? Here's the latest SMU gossip column! Just kidding... kind of. Yes, some of the comments we receive in our weekly flat-rolled market steel buyers' survey are honestly too much to put into print. Some make us laugh. Some make us cringe. Some are cryptic. Most are serious. We appreciate them all. Below are some highlights from our survey results this week. Some of the comments that we can share with you are also included, in italics, in the buyers' own words, with minimal editing on our part.

Final thoughts

Unless you've been under a rock, you know by know that Nucor's published HR price for this week is $760 per short ton, down $65/st from the company’s $825/st a week ago. I could use more colorful words. But I think it’s safe to say that most of the market was not expecting this. For starters, US sheet mills never announce price decreases. (OK, not never. It has come to my attention that Severstal North America rescinded a price increase back on Feb. 14, 2012. And it caused quite the ruckus.)